10 years later...

one time hanging out in a bookstore i scanned through the book 10-10-10 by suzy welch.  the premise is that we can determine what NEEDS to be done by applying the question of “what are the consequences of this decision in the next 10 minutes? 10 months? 10 years?”  i really do think about that 10-1010 principle (even though i never bought the book. book stores with comfy chairs are like libraries for speed readers). especially when i am faced with making a decision one way or another when both ways seem good and wise and neither is wrong...

so it was interesting to think about that principle 10 years after a major historical event. the florida recount. the village square had a FLORIDA RECOUNT REUNION on tuesday night. and i was there. i was also the official florida recount reunion photographer. whoo hoo. who would have imagined that 10 years ago? not this girl!

and in case you needed to know the panelists from left to right: 


Bush attorney Barry Richard

Leon County Election Supervisor Ion Sancho (rocking the beret)

retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Harry Anstead 

First District Court of Appeal Judge Nikki Ann Clark 

Second Judicial Circuit Judge Terry Lewis

Florida Supreme Court Public Information Officer Craig Waters 

and Florida Supreme Court Justice Jorge Labarga

while each of these VERY VERY important people were telling their stories about their view of the florida recount days, the thing that stuck out to me was how each of them KNEW how very important this whole thing was realized that they had only ONE thing they needed to focus on at that moment. not the press. not the historical significance. not the outcome of the election itself. or who THEY wanted to win the election. not the hanging chads. or the butterfly ballots. or great aunt sally in palm beach. it was a judicial matter in the end. what did our constitution say about this election. and the result. they each had a different job to do. different sets of guidelines and laws. and they each needed to focus SOLELY on the job that was theirs. and kind of to ignore to biggness that was swirling around them. focus on their piece of the puzzle. and each one did that. 

if they were a judge... they listened to the case presented to them. just the part that was integral to what they needed to rule on. the part that was THEIR jurisdiction. if they were a communications guy... they communicated what was happening to the press. if they were in charge of elections... what could they do now. not before. not even next time (that would come later). but in this moment. not what they might have felt. not their opinions. but the facts. they did their jobs. they went to bed at night and tried to sleep amidst all the commotion knowing that they had done what was their portion to do. they couldn’t control all the other pieces. they could only do their job.

they were all very good natured. they were all very friendly and told great stories. about how scared they were. how relieved they were when it was over. and how that time period was important because our country faced a constitutional crisis. a huge constitutional crises. and yet, there was no bloodshed. no civil war. the constitution stood. our country “worked” the way it was designed to work. it wasn’t easy. not everyone was happy about the outcome. but it was freedom at its best. gritty. difficult. noisy. and beautiful.

and what they did had certain consequences 10 minutes later. 10 months later. but most importantly 10 years later they can all sit together on one stage. talk. laugh. joke with each other. put their arms around each other and say, “we are americans working together”. not democrats (there were some), not republicans (there were some)... but americans who did their jobs. 

one of them noted that it was the last time they remember something happening with so much civility. so little partisanship. sigh. that might be true. 

did i have a similar focus to my work? do i do the job that is solely mine to do? i am the only one who is a wife to adam (huge sympathy sigh going out to him here). i am the only mother millie, maxx, and rosalea have (poor kids). i can do many things okay or i can do a few things excellently. these people spoke about “being all there” in the moments that were theirs. one judge ordered jessie jackson out of her courtroom because he incited a commotion and she needed to be able to hear what was going on. she needed to focus on her job. do i have what it takes to order important things out of my life so that i can focus on listening to what i need to listen to? that is what will matter in 10 years. 10 minutes later, i am sure she was on the news for ordering jessie jackson out of her courtroom. 10 months later she wasn’t getting a christmas card from him. but 10 years later, her focus and determination to do her job “no matter what” means that her work was valid and based on her hearing the whole truth.

happy vererans day to those who fought for our freedom. on bloody fields. but also those who fight in courtrooms. and election booths.

vote for rosalea...

this is her one poster that she was allowed to make. one poster and one 30 second speech. and then she added, “plus who we are and what people know about us already”. which leads me to believe that the whole election process would go better if ALL candidates were allowed only one poster and one 30 second speech.  then the rest would be based on how they acted day in and day out. who they were and what people knew about them already.

i am just giving my two cents into the whole political process. perhaps if we ran them more like elementary school elections... i mean i am not sure that wouldn’t elevate the whole thing into a much higher level of civility and consciousness...

and along with my political suggestion i will be present for your admiration the one adorable poster. which rosalea made all by herself. it was her idea and i took the photos that she wanted me to take and she pulled it all together. she is quite the little print shop whiz.


my favorite part is that i asked her if she wanted to use some money from my wallet and she thought it would be better if she used her own money. it was more real if it was her actual money not her mom’s. 

another lesson for the political candidates to consider.

september 11th...

oh yes, one floridian’s plans for september 11th have gotten a lot of press coverage lately. and i am not going to add to that insanity by linking to any of it. 

because in my never humble opinion, the problem with that “christian’s” plans for september the 11th is that it is way too easy.

because he plans to burn.

burning is easy. isn’t it? light a match. put it next to something flammable and VOILA, fire. really, we have been doing it for thousands of years. even the youngest boy scouts learn how to set a fire. then they learn what the results of that fire are... because something winds up in ashes. and if the wind catches it just right, lots more things than you ever intended wind up in ashes.

so what will i, also a “christian”, be doing tomorrow? something harder than burning. i will be building. the same kindling that burns is also used to build. the same Bible that he reads tells me to use my faith to build.

so i will be doing the buddy walk for the down syndrome association of tallahassee. and i will link to that event.


you see our friends and neighbors, the tomans, have a daughter, claire (pictured above), with down syndrome. and claire rides to school with us everyday. she loves me in a way that far surpasses the way anyone other than Jesus has ever loved me. she thinks i am a rock star because i sing a song to her every morning with the day of the week in it. it isn’t a really clever song and i don’t sing it that well but she cheers for it so loudly that at times i feel like justin beiber must feel.

so tomorrow morning we walk in the buddy walk to build relationships with our neighbors. we walk to build a bridge of understanding, of community, of education, of support for those who know and love people with down syndrome. i walk because i want tomorrow to be a day of hope. a day when the sound of laughter is louder than the sound of burning timbers.

why build? it is harder. it requires getting up early on a saturday. of getting sweaty through working and walking and talking. it takes WAY more time than burning. and WAY more energy. and the results... well, not as quick as burning. not as certain. 

how do i know?

well,  i have burned way too many things in my life. i have taken the easy route and just burned things up with my words, my actions, my revenge, my selfishness, my need to be RIGHT and HEARD and do it MY WAY. i have seen the collateral damage. i have felt the flames and they have even turned and burned me and scarred me even when i thought i was doing something to make someone else hurt and feel the pain. i have smelled the smoke in my hair and in my clothes. i have singed my nostrils and burned off my eyebrows. i have been downright pyromaniacal. and it was easy. fast. certain. resolute. 

oh yes, i know how to burn.

so on september 11th, i will choose to build. in such a small small way that i wonder if anyone will ever see any results from it. but i choose the joy of hard work. the joy of walking hand in hand with friends, family, and strangers. the building of one brick at a time. one log. one board. one nail. one window. one door.

do i write all this because i think i am “better” than that other floridian. nope. just worried for him. worried that this might singe his eyebrows off before it is all said and done. worried because i know that pyromania is addictive and fire spreads.

perhaps i am a bit wiser. i have been shown a “better way”. by someone who liked to build. because He is a Carpenter. you should see what he can do with two boards and some nails (yeah, that one might have been over the top). but He might just be able to tell us a thing or two about how to build...

 1 corinthians 12:31 - 13: 13
And now I will show you the most excellent way.
If I speak in the tongues  of men and of angels, but have not love, 
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, 
and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, 
but have not love, I gain nothing.
 Love is patient, love is kind. 
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 
it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. 
But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; 
where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 
For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. 
When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. 
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. 
But the greatest of these is love.

if you want to make a donation to our team, i am sure you can click here and do that... (our team name is the TOMANATORS. isn’t that a GREAT name? i wouldn’t walk unless our team had a cool name like that...) 

so please figure out how you can BUILD something tomorrow. something small. or something HUGE (but just don’t show me up, that would make me mad). build something that will last long after the smoke clears...

a quiet-ish weekend...

i know... AMAZING... a quiet{ish} weekend for us.

especially since the last 10 weekends for the marshalls have involved...

a) guests in town with us at the house

b) being out of town

c) being at the beach house with one or more noblin families with us

d) combine several of the above

so even though we were supposed to have guests this weekend AND be at the beach with my brother’s family... we had to put a stop to all the madness and take a weekend off. especially when we realized that the next 6 weekends would also include one or more of the following...

a) guests in town with us at the house

b) being out of town

c) being at the beach house with one or more noblin families with us

d) our kids at summer camp (which will be restful for us BUT we won’t all be together, which might be a nice thing for a weekend or two this summer)

so to fill up your weekend with as much reading material as possible, here is a little combination of two entries from the “other” place i blog sometimes... the village square.

the first part:

i sent this quote to liz and she put it on the blog AND had a cute photo of me RIGHT UNDER the name c.s. lewis... it is like she is making ALL of my dreams come true.

From C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity:

“Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything — God and our friends and ourselves included — as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.”

The liberal  Washington Monthly blogger who brings us this quote continues:

If you give in to “the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible”, it’s easy to see how you could end up thinking things about them that it is implausible to think about any group of human beings.. Your opponents become cartoons in your mind, and the normal duty to be charitable and generous, or even realistic, in your views about other people seem not to apply to them. You stop thinking of them as fellow human beings, and start thinking of them as enemies…

No one — not liberals, not conservatives — should forget that their opponents are human beings. And no one can afford to start down the road Lewis describes, in which you allow yourself to be disappointed when your opponents aren’t as bad as you first thought, or want them to be as bad as possible. And no one should get so wrapped up in political fights that in focussing on the mote in someone else’s eye, they lose sight of the beam in their own.

Worth noting is that Lea originally saw this post echoed on a Christian blog Cranach: The Blog of Veith. An iconic Christian author quoted on the blog of a cornerstone left-leaning publication (that I should add my sister used to work for); the left-leaning blog subsequently quoted on a Christian blog.

If you really think about it, all of this makes black a lot less black, eh?

*In the vernacular of this ugly political war we’ve found ourselves in, Lea is my “enemy” and I hers. If you find it impossible to believe that we’re dear friends, you really need to get out more.

and the second part:

so then in response to that whole idea... i wrote this... which liz then published on the blog with a photo of jon & kate + eight. it is like she is making all of my nightmares come true too...

i have a list of “when i get around to it” blogs to read. a majority of them are people that i highly respect their work, their words, their vision, and their lives. a lot of them are incredibly rational and real Christians. then i can count it as Bible study time when i read their blogs (just kidding-ish).

as you may have noticed i keep finding little quotes and blurbs to send in about being civil and looking beyond the differences that separate, several prominent Christians are trying to find those lost pieces of the puzzle in discourse: civility and grace.

they wrestle with that at times (and i sometimes check in on a time when they are wrestling which i don’t think is a coincidence. i don’t think anything is a coincidence). i know that i wrestle with it often and i am always relieved when someone i respect has a bit of wrestling going on as well.

of course NO one wrestles with civility on the scrapsmack blog that i read sometimes as well. it is a blog that smacks (criticizes) famous scrapbookers. yes, there really is such a thing as a “famous scrapbooker” and there really are people that smack them. and there are people that read that sometimes. sigh, and i am really one of those readers. or the other blog that i sometimes read that bashes the jon & kate + eight television show on the learning channel (one wonders what i am learning from it).

one must have her vices to make her virtues shine brighter… or is it that my vices start to dim my virtues when they outnumber them…. yeah, i think it might be the second of the two choices.

and so i thought that this was a point to note for myself and my civility issues:

that c.s. lewis quote is spot on to the whole jon and kate nastiness. i am referring to the nastiness coming from the general public/myself. it might be the problem of their own marriage nastiness, but i am no marriage therapist but i did live next door to a christian sex therapist for 10 years and that make me qualified to throw that little neighbor fact out at dinner parties where everyone is shocked to hear the words “christian” and “sex therapist” linked together but it does not make me qualified to judge someone’s marriage lest i be judged on mine.

i think i was doing that same thing c.s. lewis wrote about “thinking your enemies as bad as possible” to jon & kate.

and how did they get the auspicious job of being MY enemies? it was jealousy as much as anything (and isn’t it usually jealousy?). i mean what does “jon & kate + eight ” have over “adam & lea + three”?

our names rhyme with the # of children that we have! why isn’t tlc filming ME?!?!? where is my new HUGE house?!?!??! where is my ski trip?!?!? trip to hawaii to renew my vows?!??! where is my nanny?!?!? my public relations person?!?!? my book signing?!?!? hey, i was in CELEBRITY high school musical shouldn’t i have all of those perks?!?!??!?!?!

and as i watched the show with that attitude i began to see their gray areas as black. and blacker and blacker… i saw EVERYTHING jon did as wrong and everything kate did as wronger and those kids were in NO way as cute as MY kids and not nearly as well behaved as mine were at that age. not that i really remember exactly how they were and there weren’t 8 of them, but in the photos in my scrapbook my kids look MUCH better behaved.

and then i went further into that dark night. i started reading online gossip about the show. i was picking up people magazine and reading the articles quickly in the check out lane while waiting for the cashier to ring up my groceries (speed reading is a wonderful skill). and i had the attitude of “they made their bed of fame, let them LIE/LAY in it”. (wish i knew whether it was “lie” or lay”). anyway i was the one laying or lying in a whole heaping stinkin’ pile o’ judgement and painting them with a darker and darker brush until EVERYTHING kate or jon said was a point for me to criticize. and everything their kids did was evidence of all their wrong choices (yet, please NEVER judge me by what my kids may say or do)…

yes, i can be civil to liz, a democrat, and count her among my dearest adoring fans and friends. i can pick up atheist AND liberal, john marks, at the airport and drive him around town all day and love doing it and see the good and right in him…

but had i seen kate grocery shopping in publix… well, it would have made the news and this line would have been in there, “also injured in the fracas was the organic produce section”.

oh, civility is a slippery thing to hold on to when it comes to politics and pop culture and pretty much everything else in our lives. and when we see the world as BLACK/WHITE, US/THEM, LOOK WHAT THEY DID/I WOULD NEVER, THEY DON’T DESERVE/I SHOULD HAVE we end up losing sight of who we are (imperfect and sometimes wrong), who they are (imperfect and sometimes right), and who God is (perfect and always Righteous)….

amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. i once was lost but now am found. was blind but now i see (dimly through a glass darkened mostly by my own painting of black).

kate… call me. i can now be civil and gracious. and i know the phone number to a GREAT christian sex therapist.

my amazing race...

these last two weeks have been like that television reality show “the amazing race”. in case you are not familiar...

it is a race around the world and they have to do seemingly impossible tasks along the way. thus the analogy holds true to compare it with my last few weeks. except for the traveling around the world part.

here are some of the highlights (well, the events that i photographed). 

purple state of mind, monday night, the movie

tuesday night, the talking with craig and john

wednesday night, metonia with craig about Christianity and the movies. it was all so totally awesome and my brain was SO totally tired after actually having to think for THREE days in a row....

volunteering for olympics days at rosalea’s school. i was sponge relay this year. lots of refilling buckets.

the annual brehon blue ribbon ball and i was the photographer for the event. i was NOT good at this. i like to take pictures when people want to have their photo taken. i do like to be intrusive and walk around and ask people who are eating and partying if they want their photo taken. ugh, that was not my forte....

engagement photo session with meghan and jaime. we walked through downtown tally and found some neat little alley ways and niches for pictures. they are way cute!

and did you hear on the news that sunday was will liner day? april 26th was declared eagle scout will liner day in tallahassee. and i celebrated it by taking photos at will’s eagle scout ceremony. maxx was an honor guard for the ceremony. 

i was a bit miffed that NO where in tallahassee did they serve 2 for 1 drink specials for will liner day! who can celebrate a HUGE event like that without 2 for 1 drinks... next year, we are going to have a parade to celebrate the one year anniversary of will liner day and maybe hallmark will have a section of cards for the occasion... and don’t forget to wear your will liner signature colors on that day (blue and orange for auburn, NOT the blue and orange for the florida gators. those are totally different shades of blue and orange. right sarah grace?)

anyway, enjoy the photos from my amazing race...

and it is graduation time in tally. time for me to take graduation photos, make graduation announcements and all those other graduationy things...

and greene girl #1 had a birthday. and i threw her a hannah montana tropical birthday bash. of course.

and i made THESE little cups o’ chocolatey yummyness for dessert. make them. soon... you will thank me... and maybe with hundred dollar bills....

erin saw the dessert cup and immediately tried to slam one back... hmmm makes me wonder where she has been spending a lot of her evenings.... and i also wonder if she found the “will liner” two for one specials...